Scudamore looking forward to tuning up National favourite Cloth Cap at Kelso
Jockey Tom Scudamore believes Cloth Cap is a “worthy favourite” for the Randox Grand National and can’t wait to get back aboard the Jonjo O’Neill-trained star when he completes his Aintree preparation in the Listed Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday.
The Ladbrokes Trophy winner is a best-priced 14-1 for the National on April 10 following the decision of Gigginstown House Stud to withdraw dual winner Tiger Roll at Tuesday’s forfeit stage because of an “unfair weight.”
Cloth Cap is the headline act on Kelso's valuable seven-race card, with four of those races set to be broadcast on ITV along with three races from Doncaster and two from Newbury.
His opposition for the 2m7½f contest (2.40), will include Lake View Lad, also owned by Trevor Hemmings, and recent Warwick one-two Two For Gold and Aso.
Scudamore, who is one away from reaching 50 winners for the season, said: "It was a tremendous performance from him last time at Newbury and he’s a worthy favourite for the National after that.
"Obviously I hope he goes and wins this but it’s a very competitive race and we’ve got a bit to find at the weights. The conditions and everything should suit though and I'm excited and delighted to be asked to ride him again."
Cloth Cap's chief rival in the Grand National betting, Kimberlite Candy, had been entered but did not feature among the final declarations.
Also at Kelso, 14 runners were declared for the Morebattle Hurdle (3.15), which carries with it a £100,000 bonus should the winner go on to follow up at the Cheltenham Festival later this month.
The Shunter who has five festival entries and is trained in Ireland by Emmet Mullins, looks set to go off favourite for the 2m handicap against last-time-out winners Christopher Wood and Faivoir.
Kennel Gate winner My Drogo, recently scratched from the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, will bid for a second Grade 2 win in the Premier Novices' Hurdle (1.30). His six rivals include the unbeaten Bareback Jack, trained by Donald McCain.
At Newbury, Paul Nicholls is aiming for a tenth success in the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup (1.50).
Nicholls has a superb record in the race’s 17-year history and holds leading claims again with Grand Sancy, the ride of Bryony Frost.
The Dan Skelton-trained Proschema is a general 10-1 shot for the County Hurdle and he takes in the BetVictor Handicap Hurdle (2.30).
There could be some more Grand National clues in the 3m2f Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster (3.30), where Nicky Henderson's 2019 Ultima winner Beware The Bear has his final prep before Aintree.
Canelo also holds a Grand National entry and trainer Alan King has opted to go here rather than the Greatwood Gold Cup.
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